Just hours before the film is scheduled to open in the United States, the British Board of Film Classification has overturned their ban on “The Human Centipede II,” awarding it an 18 rating (basically an NC-17, without the porno stigma) after the producers agreed to a whopping 2 minutes and 37 seconds worth of cuts. According to the BBFC’s ruling, the filmmakers made “32 individual cuts to scenes of sexual and sexualized violence, sadistic violence and humiliation, and a child presented in an abusive and violent context.” Why is it always about cutting stuff with “The Human Centipede?”
When I interviewed “Centipede” director Tom Six at Fantastic Fest last month, I asked about the banning, and whether he would ultimately be willing to cut the film to get it shown in England. Here’s what he had to say:
Is “Part II” still banned in the UK?
The distributor is still fighting the banning, trying to find a way to overturn it. On the one hand, I’m really irritated that they banned it. On the other hand, I’m very happy to be part of a list of eleven films like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” that were banned in the UK. We’re proud to be amongst those ranks.
Would you be willing to cut parts of the film in order to get it released in England?
Sure. I’d hate to cut it though. It’s my film and I want to present it in the way I made it. But if it’s necessary, yeah. I want to show it to people.
So it was a necessary evil, I guess. Or a necessary good? The moral universe of “The Human Centipede” is so confusing sometimes. At least with these cuts, Six is bringing people together — wait, wait! Sorry, poor choice of words.
A description of the specific cuts is available for your perusal on the BBFC website, but since it’s basically a detailed list of all the horrible things you’ll see in the movie (or won’t see in the movie, sorry chaps), you should look at it at your own peril. I’m having a hard time contextualizing how much 2 minutes and 37 seconds worth of cuts really is. It sounds like a lot, and it is more than 1% of the entire film gone completely. Then again, the last act of the film is basically wall-to-wall torture. Assuming the filmmakers made their cuts with more precision than Martin, the mentally unwell “hero” and untrained surgeon of “HC2,” it shouldn’t make that big of a difference.